Kenneth Quiroz is 13-years-old, and his younger sister, Sasha, just turned ten. Together, these two have a real bond with some four-legged gentle giants.
“My horse’s name is Gunner. I know that we’re the same because we’re wild childs,” laughed Sasha.
“My horse is Hannah. She’s ten. She’s been through a rough life,” said Kenneth.
Kenneth and Sasha have been working with horses as a form of equine therapy for about one year. Their grandmother, Ruby Quiroz, takes care of Kenneth and Sasha because, like Kenneth’s horse, these kids have also had a tough life.
“I had noticed a lot of anxiety with both kids. They both have PTSD,” said Quiroz, who added Kenneth and Sasha were victims of child abuse.
It’s through Mini Angel Eyes equine therapy that Kenneth can manage his anger, and Sasha can manage her anxiety. Mini Angel Eyes’ owner Joey Ogburn noticed the healing effects of horses before turning to help others.
“I just realized that horses are so therapeutic, and I just wanted to share that with the rest of the world,” said Ogburn.
Using horses for equine therapy can have physical, speech, emotional and sensory healing benefits for patients. Ogburn has found that the horses with the biggest impact are pint-sized horses.
Mini Angel Eyes takes these certified mini therapy horses on visits to veterans, people with disabilities, and victims of child abuse, and she does it free of charge.
“Miniature horses are so sensitive, and so much ability to read a person. . .and almost act like a mirror to a person,” said Ogburn.
Since working with mini horses, Kenneth and Sasha have both made progress in their lives. Kenneth has learned how to better manage his anger.
“I usually go to my room and calm down, then tell her how I feel and stuff,” said Kenneth.
“I notice [Sasha’s] anxiety go down a little bit,” said her grandmother, Ruby. “It was a very hard task for her to go into a home, and she’s to the point where she can go inside the house, by herself, without anybody accompanying her into the home.”
Mini Angel Eyes is a non-profit, and the mini therapy horses are perfect for anyone who just needs to hit “pause” on life for a little while.